What is the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) Program?

The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) allows potential candidates qualified in a skilled trade to settle in Canada and become permanent residents.
Workers in Canada

The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) allows potential candidates qualified in a skilled trade to settle in Canada and become permanent residents.

Formerly known as the Federal Skilled Trades Program, it was introduced in 2013 to fill in the gap of labor shortages in the country. Many industries in Canada are facing a shortage of workers as the economy continues to grow. 

Office buildings in Canada
courtesy of Jamal Yahya

The FSTC is a stream under the Express Entry program. You can apply for FSTC by:

  • Expressing your interest to enter yourself in the Express Entry pool
  • Meeting required eligibilities
  • Submitting all documents

The government of Canada keeps on conducting Express Entry draws throughout the year. Recently, the IRCC allowed 3,900 candidates to immigrate via Express Entry. If you are skilled at a trade, you can apply for FSTC for an easy way to permanent residence.

Note: The province of Quebec has its own skilled trades program. You can live anywhere in Canada except Quebec if you get an ITA under FSTC. To settle in Quebec, you need to apply directly to the province. 

Why Should You Consider the FSTC?

Applying for permanent residence under FSTC has a few advantages:
  1. The cut-off score for FSTC is lower than the other streams in Express Entry. While programs like CEC has an average cut-off score of 400, FSTC candidates can sail through with scores as low as 199 (Express Entry draw May 2017). Cut-off scores for other draws are also low- 241 (Nov 2017), 332 (May 2019), and 357 (Oct 2019).
  2. You need a job offer (or a certificate of qualification) to be eligible for FSTC. A valid job offer from a Canadian employer not only strengthens your application but also adds to your score in the CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System).
  3. FTSC has lower levels of language ability criteria compared to CEC or FSWC

Each year, the country has invited talented tradesperson to work and live in Canada. Canada has a cap of 3,000 candidates under the FSTC. The Express Entry draws are held throughout the year, and successful candidates are sent ITAs. 

FSTC Application

Who can Apply for Federal Skilled Trades Class

FSTC is the ideal program for qualified and skilled tradespersons to immigrate to Canada and get permanent residence.

You need to have at least 2 years of full-time experience in a skilled trade. An equal amount of work done in part-time also qualifies under FSTC. This work experience:

  • Has to be within 5 years of your application
  • Should include either 30 hours of work per week (full-time)
  • Should add up to 2 years of full-time work if part-time (can be 15 hours or more per week)
  • Can be in more than one job (total hours of two jobs is allowed)
  • Should be equal to or more than 3,120 hours in 2 years

Apart from the above, you also have to satisfy the job requirements for your trade as per the National Occupational Classification (not needed if you have a certificate of qualification). 

You may also check your eligibility online:

Now we will see which trades are eligible under the FSTC. 

Skilled Trades Work Experience: Categories

The skilled trades allowed under FSTC fall under the following categories in the National Occupational Classification (NOC):

Major Groups
  • 72 – Industrial, electrical, and construction trades
  • 73 – Maintenance and equipment, operation trades
  • 82 – Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
  • 92 – Processing, manufacturing and utility supervisors, and central control operators
Minor Groups
  • 632 – Chefs and cooks
  • 633 – Butchers and bakers

The Major Groups have several occupations under them. You should check the 2016 NOC to find out if your trade is allowed under FSTC. 

Also, you have to show you performed your work as per the lead statement of your trade description in the NOC. Otherwise, your application may be rejected. 

Can Self-Employed Professionals Qualify for Federal Skilled Trades Class?
Self-employed professionals may apply for FSTC if they have the required work experience and meet the requirements. But you may need a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial authority.  

How to Apply for Federal Skilled Trades Class

Before you apply, make sure:

  • You have 2 years of work experience
  • Your trade is on the NOC list
  • Met all other criteria we discussed

Now, follow the steps below to apply for FSTC:

1. Create Your Express Entry Profile

You have to create your Express Entry profile on the IRCC website. Provide all necessary information, including self-declared details. Some fields may need additional documentation, like language abilities. 

2. Step Up Your Profile for CRS Ranking

You will get your ITA only if you are able to get a good score and ranking on your CRS. Some ways to increase your score include-

  • Provide your education credentials and add up to 250 points
  • Get good scores in your language tests
  • Work experiences over 2 years can also get you more points
  • You can see if you qualify for any Express Entry-aligned provincial programs (can add up to 600 points)

3. Receive Your Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Now you have to wait for the IRCC to conduct an Express Entry draw. If you met all the requirements and get the cut-off score, you will receive the ITA. 

You have 60 days to apply once you receive your ITA.

4. Complete Security and Medical Check

You have to undergo a medical examination by an IRCC-recognized panel physician before you can become a permanent resident. The doctor will screen you for any medical issues that might restrict your entry into Canada.

You will also have to provide clearance certificates (police background check certificates) to show you don’t have any criminal records. Submit a clearance certificate from each country you have stayed for at least 6 months since the age of 18 years. 

People working in Canada
courtesy of Fauxels

5. Submit Your E-Application

Next, you have to submit your e-application to the IRCC. The e-application should be accompanied by detailed work reference letters from your past employers. 

6. Receive Confirmation of Permanent Residence

Your e-application will be reviewed and processed within 6 months. Then you will receive the confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) document. It means you have been granted permanent residence in Canada. 

7. Receive Your PR Card

You can apply for your PR card after you get your COPR. Your PR card is proof that you are now a Canadian citizen. 

Requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Class

You already know the nature of trade and work experience you need to have. Now let’s check out the other requirements you need to fulfill:

Language Abilities for the FSTC

Candidates wishing to apply for FSTC has to prove their capabilities in either English or French. It is advisable to take courses and tests to build up your skills and eligibility for the program beforehand. You need to have a basic grasp of your chosen language covering:

  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing

Language Tests

The following language tests are allowed by the IRCC:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • Test d’Evaluation de Francais (TEF) (French)

Minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)

You need to score a minimum of the following Canadian Language Benchmark scores to qualify for FSTC-

  • Speaking and listening: CLB 5
  • Reading and writing: CLB 4

You need to update your language test results on your Express Entry profile. The results are valid for a maximum of 2 years. 

You may also check your eligibility onilne:

Educational Qualifications for the FSTC

You don’t need to fulfill any educational qualifications for FSTC. But you can add your educational credentials to your profile for scoring extra marks in the CRS. You can submit-

  • Any degree, certificate, or diploma done from a Canadian institution (secondary or post-secondary)
  • An equivalent degree from a foreign institution

Note: Foreign degrees will have to be accompanied by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a designated organization. 

Full-Time Job Offer or Certificate of Qualification

A valid, full-time job offer from a Canadian employer is needed to be eligible for FSTC. The job must be permanent and amount to 30 hours per week or more. You can also apply with a part-time job offer that adds up to at least 30 hours each week. 

You can apply without a job offer if you have a certification for your skilled trade. The certificate must be issued by the regulatory authority of the territory or province you want to work in. Sometimes, a federal authority may also issue your certificate of qualification. 

Note: You may have to travel to your chosen province to get your certificate of qualification. 

Proof of Funds for the FSTC

FSTC candidates need to prove they have enough funds to support themselves and their families in Canada. You can get past this requirement only if-

  • You have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, or
  • You are currently able to work legally in Canada

For all other candidates, you need to provide proof of funds. The bigger is your family, the more funds you need to have. Here’s what will cost you based on your family size-

Family MembersFunds Needed (CAD)
Single applicant$12,669
2 members$15,772
3 members$19,390
4 members$23,542
5 members$26,701
6 members$30,114
7members$33,528
For each additional family member$3,414

 The funds in your account should be-

  • Available
  • Transferrable
  • Free from debts

You will need to provide proof of funds during the FSTC application and issuance of permanent resident visa. 

Road to FSTC PR – How to Get Started? 

The first step is to ensure you meet all requirements and have a valid job offer or certificate of qualification. After that, enter yourself in Express Entry and wait for the ITA. 

Once you receive it, complete it within 60 days and wait for confirmation of permanent residence to arrive. Then you can apply for your PR card. 

How to Find Skilled Trades Job in Canada

You can try the following ways to get a job offer:

  • Search the Canadian Job Bank
  • Look for government jobs
  • See if the top 100 employers of Canada have any openings
  • Approach employers directly
  • Search for jobs on LinkedIn
  • Search online job portals
  • Google your trade, for example, “Chef jobs in Canada”
  • Take help of consultancies and immigration services
  • Ask your family and friends in Canada for references

Assistance from RCIC Agent

You can save a lot of time and labour by taking the help of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC). An RCIC agent will help you submit a flawless application and provide all necessary guidance to help you get PR.

Federal Skilled Trades Class: Most Asked Questions

So you have decided that the FSTC is something that can work for you. Here we have answered some of the questions you may have related to the Federal Skilled Trades Class Program.

What is the FSTC Processing Time?
Most FSTC applications are processed within 6 months. Once you receive your ITA, you have 60 days to complete it. Then you can get your COPR in 6 months.  
How Long Does It Take to Arrange Documents?
  • Passport: Usually takes 1 month
  • Language test results: 2 to 3 months
  • Medical and police checks: A few weeks
How Can I Get My Documents Done Faster?
  • Arrange documents in advance
  • Take your language tests 2-3 months before applying to FSTC
  • Go to a Passport Seva Kendra for police verification
  • Arrange certificate of qualification in advance
  • Arrange all job reference letters in advance
Can You Qualify for FSTC if Your Score is Less than Cut-Off?
Your profile will be disqualified if your score is lower than the cut-off. But you can take several steps to get a good score:
  • Submit educational credentials
  • Get good scores in language tests
  • Additional work experience also counts
Can I Bring My Family under FSTC?
You can immigrate with your whole family under FSTC. 
Do I have to Sit for an Interview for FSTC?
You don’t generally need to sit for interviews. But an immigration officer may call you over to verify information. 
Top Stats to Know
FSTC has a cap of 3,000 candidates. Each draw typically issues ITAs to 500 candidates. The cut-off score is dynamic, and the lowest score allowed by IRCC till date is 241. So FSTC can be a good option if you are a skilled tradesperson. 

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Editor’s Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent immigration advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

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